Hard Boiled (1992)

Any time anyone told me how good an action movie was, I always thought, “Yeah, but Hard Boiled…”

This is the big action movie that all big action movies want to be.

John Woo had been criticized for glamorizing gangsters in his films, so for this film, he created a supercop named Inspector Tequila, who was expertly played by perhaps the coolest actor who has ever lived, Chow Yun-Fat. Do you think Clint Eastwood could make having a baby pee all over you and extinguish the fire on his leg somehow still look awesome?

Also, for all the complaints about the amount of death and destruction in American films, this one wipes out 307 people in 92 minutes (well, if you’re watching the cut version; there’s also a 149-minute cut). There are also around 2,000 different guns firing off 100,000 rounds.

It would also be the last film Woo would make before going to Hollywood to make Hard Target. Don’t worry — he made better stuff after that.

I’ve always felt that Woo is absolutely in love with everything that is film. This movie is a violent ballet with guns and leaps and fire and explosions instead of body movements. While not as dramatic as The Killer, this still has more of a story — and again, way more action — than anything that the U.S. was doing in 1992 or any other year.

I mean, what else other than a love of film explains that the lead character’s name comes from the fact that William Holde drinks an entire bottle of tequila in The Wild Bunch?

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